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Expert advice for trend in practice tests

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Expert advice for trend in practice tests [#permalink] New post 13 Oct 2012, 09:05
Hello experts,

I started preparing for GMAT 3-4 weeks back and have been writing practice tests once a week, starting with GMATPrep 1 on day 0.
Here is my progress so far..

GMATprep1 22-09-12 690 49 35
Princeton free 30-09-12 710 50 39
KAPLAN free 06-10-12 640 47 31 (Individual scores roughly drawn based on %)
MGMAT free 13-10-12 690 51 34

The poor thing is, I dont seem to have improved after 3 weeks looking at these scores, on the contrary there is a huge dip (Kaplan).
More importantly, for last 1-1.5 week I focussed solely on verbal, and verbal score has still gone down :?

When I analyze reports, I basically make equal mistakes on verbal in each of SC,RC and CR. All questions correct in difficulty level of 600-700 and only 50% correct in 700-800 level. So now getting a bit worried looking at the pattern.

For practice, I've used only questions from prep books (haven't started OG13, kept it for later- pretty much 'saving best for last' concept) - Not sure anymore if this is right approach.

I'm planning a date in later part of November for my actual GMAT and targetting a score of > 42 in verbal too. Need advice from all GC experts, if anyone can provide advise specific to my case?

Many thanks.
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Re: Expert advice for trend in practice tests [#permalink] New post 13 Oct 2012, 11:55
Expert's post
1. Why the heck are you taking practice tests if you just started preparing? You are wasting them.

Think of it this way - you started learning how to play the piano, so you schedule your first concert a week later; then you schedule the next one a few weeks later and so on. You keep wondering why people walk out on you a few tunes into it. You cannot use CAT's for measure of your performance on such short intervals. They just won't capture your progress. You have to use the exercises that come from the mystery practice materials you are using.

2. What have you been using as your prep material - you are asking for advice but i have no idea what you have been doing those 3-4 weeks. So what advice can we give you?

3. You started off with 690 - that's a great score. You should consider yourself lucky to have that level already. However, it will be much harder to improve on it than if you had started with 590 or 490. Expect to put a bunch more work and do a lot of analysis of your tests, which leads me to my final point

4. Use the CATs that you took to figure out where you make mistakes and why your score is not going up. The answer is there. However, if you have made a bunch of mistake on a subject you have not studied in the week 1, then you did the same in the week 2, and the same in the weeks 3 and 4 - that should be an answer to pretty much all of your questions. You really want to only measure your progress in are you studied.

Good Luck.

Good Luck!
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Re: Expert advice for trend in practice tests [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2012, 07:50
Thanks for your reply bb.. some points that you mentioned...

bb wrote:
1. Why the heck are you taking practice tests if you just started preparing? You are wasting them.

Actually I've 15 more practice tests from veritas prep. I planned to keep 5 for last week before actual exam, and take others.

bb wrote:
2. What have you been using as your prep material - you are asking for advice but i have no idea what you have been doing those 3-4 weeks. So what advice can we give you?

Sorry, should have been more precise. I've used new Veritas prep books and MGMAT SC book for preparation till now. also have been checking out practice questions on gmat club regularly (Including daily practice question mailer everyday)

bb wrote:
3. You started off with 690 - that's a great score. You should consider yourself lucky to have that level already. However, it will be much harder to improve on it than if you had started with 590 or 490. Expect to put a bunch more work and do a lot of analysis of your tests, which leads me to my final point

4. Use the CATs that you took to figure out where you make mistakes and why your score is not going up. The answer is there. However, if you have made a bunch of mistake on a subject you have not studied in the week 1, then you did the same in the week 2, and the same in the weeks 3 and 4 - that should be an answer to pretty much all of your questions. You really want to only measure your progress in are you studied.


I've used tests reports to improve on quants...combinatorics for one, from none correct in first to all correct in recent test, but have not been able to imrove my verbal, as there is no definite area I can find out to focus.. As i mentioned, usually all questions in 600-700 are correct and only 50% in 700-800 level. This is what I'm not able to figure out, how to move forward..
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Re: Expert advice for trend in practice tests [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2012, 09:08
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Two options:

1. Wait until you go throu all verbal and then start taking tests
2. Dive deeper into the verbal areas in your analysis. You can getretty precise with it (subject verb agreement or parallel structure, etc). It is possible to get pretty precise with analysis. If you can't tell WHY you made that error in the first place then that's your answer. Which again of your answer most of the time is - I have not covered it yet, then you are spinning your wheels.

However, it is easier to do #1 and then pursue the second option after.
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Re: Expert advice for trend in practice tests [#permalink] New post 14 Oct 2012, 12:04
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Maybe you can take quizzes if you want to test your improvement in a specific part.

But even I am advised by many not to take the practice tests unless fully ready. Experts have told me that too much practice tests might actually confuse more since we cannot improve all sections at once.

Initial diagnostic test is important. But once you are through, practice individual weaknesses and take quizzes.

Keep the second GMATPrep test for the end, since that should be very close to your GMAT score.

Good Luck!!!
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Re: Expert advice for trend in practice tests [#permalink] New post 15 Oct 2012, 09:31
bb wrote:
Two options:

1. Wait until you go throu all verbal and then start taking tests
2. Dive deeper into the verbal areas in your analysis. You can getretty precise with it (subject verb agreement or parallel structure, etc). It is possible to get pretty precise with analysis. If you can't tell WHY you made that error in the first place then that's your answer. Which again of your answer most of the time is - I have not covered it yet, then you are spinning your wheels.

However, it is easier to do #1 and then pursue the second option after.

Thanks for your advice; it makes sense. Would go ahead with option 1. Kudos.
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Re: Expert advice for trend in practice tests [#permalink] New post 15 Oct 2012, 09:32
soumens wrote:
Maybe you can take quizzes if you want to test your improvement in a specific part.

But even I am advised by many not to take the practice tests unless fully ready. Experts have told me that too much practice tests might actually confuse more since we cannot improve all sections at once.

Initial diagnostic test is important. But once you are through, practice individual weaknesses and take quizzes.

Keep the second GMATPrep test for the end, since that should be very close to your GMAT score.

Good Luck!!!

thanks for the comment. Kudos. can u suggest some source/materials for quizzes?
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Re: Expert advice for trend in practice tests [#permalink] New post 15 Oct 2012, 09:41
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Vips0000 wrote:
soumens wrote:
Maybe you can take quizzes if you want to test your improvement in a specific part.

But even I am advised by many not to take the practice tests unless fully ready. Experts have told me that too much practice tests might actually confuse more since we cannot improve all sections at once.

Initial diagnostic test is important. But once you are through, practice individual weaknesses and take quizzes.

Keep the second GMATPrep test for the end, since that should be very close to your GMAT score.

Good Luck!!!

thanks for the comment. Kudos. can u suggest some source/materials for quizzes?


U can subscribe to Grockit.com for Quizzes.
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Re: Expert advice for trend in practice tests [#permalink] New post 15 Oct 2012, 10:11
As far as I know:

For Quant: GMATClub gives most tricky problems. Don't be disheartened with your accuracy. But try to understand why you went wrong.
Grockit also seems to be a good source for both Quant and Verbal.

Keep a error log as bb always recommends.

Since your score is quite high. You can easily start with most difficult problems right away and track your progress.

Target the weak areas of your tests till now. Attempt another mock after that.

Good Luck!!!
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Re: Expert advice for trend in practice tests [#permalink] New post 15 Oct 2012, 10:18
What bb said makes sense. Try to follow that. :)

Also, keep in mind that the practice tests serve only two purposes: a. to point out our weaknesses and areas where we are missing out and b. to help us realize our pacing in the tests. The practice tests are more about width than they are about depth. Go slow on them no matter how many you have stacked up. Realize that without covering everything first, you are also spending several hours in analyzing the test; the time which could be better utilized in grasping important stuff first.
Hope that helps :)
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Re: Expert advice for trend in practice tests [#permalink] New post 16 Oct 2012, 01:42
harshvinayak wrote:
What bb said makes sense. Try to follow that. :)

Also, keep in mind that the practice tests serve only two purposes: a. to point out our weaknesses and areas where we are missing out and b. to help us realize our pacing in the tests. The practice tests are more about width than they are about depth. Go slow on them no matter how many you have stacked up. Realize that without covering everything first, you are also spending several hours in analyzing the test; the time which could be better utilized in grasping important stuff first.
Hope that helps :)

Point taken.. thanks for your inputs :)
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Re: Expert advice for trend in practice tests   [#permalink] 16 Oct 2012, 01:42
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